What's the Difference Between TEFL, TESOL & CELTA?

What Type of Certification Do You Need for Teaching English Abroad?

By Paige Lee

So you’ve decided it’s time to research more about the best way to live overseas. Teaching English in a foreign country seems like it could fit the bill, but when you get on Google to look up anything to do with teaching English abroad you quickly find yourself immersed in a complicated new world of different courses, programs, forums, recruiters, job boards and most of all, acronyms:  TEFL, TESOL, CELTA, ESL, EFL, and so forth. So what's the deal with this never-ending list that seems only to raise more confusing questions?

  • What are the differences between TEFL, TESOL, and CELTA?
  • Do I need to take a CELTA course rather than a TEFL course to qualify for jobs?
  • Which certification do I need to teach English abroad?

What is TEFL and What is TEFL Certification?

“TEFL” is the acronym for Teaching English as a Foreign Language, or simply, English language instruction for non-native speakers. Also known as Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), English Language Teaching (ELT), and teaching ESL (English as a Second Language). The field of TEFL/TESOL represents one of the fastest growing educational fields in the world. The field presents thousands of excellent professional opportunities for teaching English abroad in all corners of the globe to native and fluent English speakers who earn their TEFL/TESOL certification.

What TEFL Certification is best for Teaching English in Asia? [Expert Tips]

By: Felicia Braverman

So, you’ve decided to teach English in Asia. Great! Asia is famous for offering some of the best perks in the industry, as well as the chance to save money during your time abroad. Now that you’ve decided on a teaching location, the next step in the process is deciding on which TEFL course to take. 

Will I Face Age Restrictions Teaching English Abroad in Asia?

By: Tyler Parsons

International TEFL Academy graduates find paid work teaching English in Europe, Latin America, Asia, and the Middle East. Beyond TEFL certification, some markets have additional requirements for hiring teachers.  

Certain countries require a 4-year university degree, others may require an advanced degree in education, and some countries don't require a degree at all. In some cases, citizenship from a designated "Native English-Speaking Country" is required.

In some countries a teacher's age can play a factor in the hiring process as well. More than half of the teaching positions available around the world are teaching adults and many schools may prefer a more mature teacher with professional work experience for such positions.

What is Border Hopping When Teaching English Abroad?

Visas for teaching English abroad can be extremely confusing. There are numerous different types of visas English teachers use when moving abroad to teach, especially when looking to stay abroad long-term.

One of those most common questions pertaining to visas being, what type do I need?  It’s can be an overwhelming topic, especially since every country and employer operates differently.  Many International TEFL Academy Alumni are teaching on work visas, student visas, or a cultural exchange visa.

But in parts of the world where paperwork isn’t a strong suit, most commonly in Latin America, tourist visas are the norm therefore teachers border hop so they can stay for an extended period of time.  The standard visa procedure in these regions is teaching on a tourist visa while “border hopping,” which basically means that you are crossing over a border to another country to get a new visa.  Because the term is vague at best, let's break down the who, what, when where and hows of border hopping when teaching English abroad.

Am I Too Old To Teach English Abroad?

By: Paige Lee

The short answer — HELL NO! 

However, like with anything else about teaching abroad, there’s more to say about this very common question. And yes, in certain countries age can be a limiting factor due to things like mandatory retirement ages, or cultural norms. That said, if you are a native English speaker who earns an accredited TEFL certification, you will have options.

To many mature teachers who are looking to explore different cultures and perspectives it can seem that many programs & TEFL schools, including International TEFL Academy (ITA), only work with recent grads and 20-somethings who have few obstacles and debts to figure out in order to go abroad.

While a majority of ITA’s teachers fit this demographic, teaching abroad is available to EVERYBODY! The key is to enter this adventure with patience, persistence, and an open mind. Below are a few tips on how to approach your TEFL course and finding English teaching work abroad as a more mature teacher.

How to Evaluate and Compare Online TEFL Courses

By: Ian Davis

For many, teaching English abroad can be a life changing experience, and like all big events in life, one should prepare by doing proper research.  Online TEFL courses have become very popular in recent years, as they offer a flexible and affordable way to complete your TEFL training.  However, not all online TEFL courses are the same. Like anything, when it comes to TEFL courses, you will typically get what you pay for and if a price seems too good to be true - it usually is. A $195 self-taught online TEFL class with no practice teaching that you buy on Groupon will not provide the same level of training, recognition or accreditation that you will receive by investing in a true professional level course that meets industry standards and is taught by experienced instructors.

As you embark on your research or the best online TEFL course for you, here are some key points to consider and some important questions for you to ask.

Will I Pay Taxes While Teaching English Abroad? [For Americans]

By: Doug Waxman with assistance from CPA & Expatriate Tax Consultant Gregory Lucyshyn

So…You are planning on getting TEFL Certified and teaching English abroad?  It sounds like the experience of a lifetime and you are ready to go.  But, you want to be smart and make sure you are fully prepared regarding all financial matters you will need to consider both at home and abroad, including taxes.

My name is Doug Waxman, Business Development Director & Admissions Advisor at ITA and I have teamed up with Gregory Lucyshyn with Expatriate Tax Consulting (MY ACCOUNTANT & also ITA’s preferred expat accountant) to help you out with the question, will I have to pay taxes while teaching English abroad?


Can I Earn My University Degree Online While Teaching English Abroad?

By: Tyler Parsons

What’s that old saying about cake and eating and keeping it for yourself? You can’t have your cake and eat it too? Not sure that phrase makes a lot of sense, but the point it’s conveying is that a person can’t have something both ways. That some situations call for a person to choose between two tough options. While that may be true in many cases in life, when it comes to advancing your education or traveling the world, maybe you don’t need to make that choice.

Bottom Line: Can you take university classes online or in-person & earn your degree at the same time you are teaching English abroad?

Yes - I did it myself. I earned my Master's Degree in Marketing while teaching English abroad in Hong Kong.

What are Dress Codes for English Teachers Abroad?

By: Jeff Penick

The dress code for English teachers abroad is truly going to vary from country to country and more specifically, school to school. Some schools will require business attire (shirt and tie or even a suit for men and a pant suit or skirt and dress shirt/jacket for women). On the other end of the spectrum, some schools will be perfectly fine with teachers wearing very casual clothes like a basic t-shirt and jeans.

As a general rule of thumb, whether you are interviewing for a teaching job or are showing up for work, err on the side of professional and conservative attire until you hear otherwise from your school.